“[Customers] seeing the actual products on themselves made an enormous difference and really drove conversions.”
According to Cruickshank, the company had a solid year and doubled their online sales to 103 per cent compared to the previous corresponding period.
Pandora’s Virtual Try-On experience allows customers to see what they look like wearing the jewellery without needing to download an app or use any additional technical equipment. Shoppers can just tap on the Try It On button on each product page while online.
Cruickshank said of all the digital activations the brand launched during the past year, this feature was the easiest and fastest to implement across more than 10 Pandora websites around the world.
“This solution offered our customers a safe alternative to in-store shopping and kept them highly engaged with both product and brand,” he said.
Pandora’s digital hub
According to Cruickshank, during the lockdowns last year, Pandora was forced to accelerate its digital capabilities to excel in terms of e-commerce and offering a seamless omnichannel experience.
The Copenhagen-based jewellery retailer decided to build a digital hub next to its headquarters, where they hired a team of experts from across the world to help Pandora revamp its digital landscape and drive e-commerce performance.
“The fantastic thing with Pandora was not to pause but to accelerate, recognising that having this digital capability at the heart of the business was utterly critical and because of that new capability, we were able to very rapidly transform our e-commerce business and operation and experience,” Cruickshank said.
At the peak of the pandemic, the company hired additional talent from around the world, growing its digital team from 22 to 134 new employees, he added.
More digital firsts
With the company relying on the strong personal relationships it builds with its customers, interacting face-to-face with an experienced customer associate makes a big difference to people who purchase jewellery, Cruickshank noted.
But with the pandemic changing that dynamic, Pandora introduced a virtual selling assistance feature.
“Our customers, especially some of our customers who are shopping for jewellery online for the first time, need visualisations or reassurance that the jewellery they’ve picked will look good on them,” he explained.
“So we’ve set up our virtual customer assistance service, which enables our customer associates to talk to customers via video, some from their own homes, some from our stores.”
Pandora also introduced digital gifting where shoppers can select an item to send as a gift and give the recipient the chance to virtually unwrap it through text, e-mail, or any other digital platform.
The recipient of the present can decide to swap the gift for a same-priced item if the present doesn’t suit him or her. The recipient of the present can also alter the gift’s size, colour or style, and once he or she is satisfied with the present, the shopper can then complete the purchase.
“We want to make our customers’ shopping experience as seamless as possible,” Cruickshank said.
How Pandora did it
According to Cruickshank, the company had to set up a cross-functional team where they pulled together some team members from IT, retail and marketing and put them into one team, giving them complete freedom to arrive at new solutions for the company. They called this the ‘lighthouse approach’.
“We developed our new digital and physical solutions by ensuring rapid experimentation and innovation through our [cross-functional teams],” he said.
“We coached and enabled our internal team to do this themselves…like getting the IT guy to do a customer interview. It was really critical for that team to get on the customers’ problems, really understand their needs and really get to the point to get the specific solutions.”
Through this new approach, Pandora introduced 141 new ideas which translated to 11 solutions that were rolled out across 12 markets in just six months.
“We’re now looking to bring all these cross-functional teams together to work in an agile pace to solve problems and move Pandora along a digital transformation journey a lot faster,” he added. “We’d like to see more improvements going forward.”